Ernesto Valverde nearing the sack after Super Cup loss

With another disappointing result, despite a generally very positive performance against Atlético Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup semi-final, pressure appears to be mounting ever more on Catalan manager, Ernesto Valverde’s position as Barcelona manager.

FC Barcelona director of football Eric Abidal and chief executive Oscar Grau are meeting with Xavi Hernandez in Doha to explore the possibility of the club legend becoming the first team’s new head coach, it has been claimed.

Moments after the final whistle blew on the Catalans’ 2-3 defeat to Diego Simeone’s men, the same outlet, RAC1 radio, reported that current manager Ernesto Valverde’s situation in the hot seat had become ‘very delicate’ and that his fate could be decided at a board meeting on Monday.

Xavi, 39, has long been touted as a potential Barcelona coach and is one of a few options they are considering as they begin to think beyond Valverde.

Sources close to the club insist the timing, one day after the loss to Atletico, was a coincidence but revealed Xavi is a “serious option” to take over at Camp Nou in the future. The former Spanish midfielder is the current Al Sadd coach and Josep Maria Bartomeu’s trusted deputies were wanted to speak to him to get an understanding of his thoughts and, perhaps, his availability to make a professional change. Barça may be sitting top of La Liga as we enter the second half of the season, but the situation is far from convincing under Valverde.

Ernesto Valverde, whose current contract at Barcelona is set to expire in June but there is reportedly the option to renew it for another year, is coming under increasing scrutiny.  The 55-year-old manager remains relaxed and has insisted that talk about his future is understandable.

‘Coaches always move with the idea of working hard and giving everything in every game,’ he said following the defeat.

We know what football is like, that there is always permanent instability.

‘When the results are bad or when you lose, as has happened tonight, I suppose we will talk about this and other things. It’s inevitable but I will do my job.’